Several friends have asked where we are planning to go on our vacation. Well, we are going to a very special place, one of my top ten favorite spots in the world, Minnesota's North Shore, along Lake Superior north and east of Duluth. I can't begin to name the times we've vacationed up there....too many to remember.
Let's see, there was the summer we left Kari home alone for the first time. She was working and planning her wedding, so we left her home, and called often! That's the summer Kevin jumped off the bridge into the foaming, roaring, raging water, and scared his mother half to death! That's also the summer we ate trout for breakfast because hubby and the five boys got up early and went fishing up the river, inland from the lake.
We took several trips with my mom and sister. One summer with them alone, and one summer with grandsons Jacob and Caleb along too. But probably the most memorable trip was the time during the winter that we convinced mom and my sister to accompany us. We spent a long weekend in a little cabin right on the lake, a weekend during the winter of deep snows and cold days and nights. And we had a ball. We drove up the Sawbill Trail to the campground where we have also spent several summer vacations. The trail was a winter wonderland of deep drifts along the freshly plowed roadway, evergreen branches hung close to the ground with the weight of the accumulated snow, deer ran along the edge of the road because the ditches and open land were too deeply covered in the white stuff, and the beauty of the trees deep in the woods that still held their red berries was unequaled by any manufactured scene you'd find in the city. We often refer to this enchanted weekend as our winter wonderland trip. And we know we could never in a hundred years recreate it.
Ernie and I have also spent several vacations up there alone. One time we planned a week long hiking trip on the Superior Hiking Trail and carefully gathered food, shelter and clothing for the week, and we read books and researched the Internet for camp spots and water sources. All was ready, we were in decent shape and were so excited for our trek. We parked our truck and small camper at a State Park and took the Superior Shuttle Service up the shore to our starting point. We had decided on a section that was not flat, but more challenging, and soon our hearts were pounding and our breathing was rapid, and we were having a blast! Until I started not feeling too well. And then started vomiting, an unpleasant task when carrying a 40 pound back on your back! And then diarrhea in the woods, far from a nice cushy roll of bathroom tissue. Oh my. I felt horrible! We came to a huge uphill section where we were actually climbing, not hiking, and I almost gave up. Ernie hauled his pack AND my pack to the top, and I slowly inched my way up the hill. After several hours and many, many stops to rest, we completed the first ten miles (and last ten miles!) of our trek. We were many miles from our truck and camper, and had to hitch a ride to the highway, and then hitch a ride back to the park where our vehicle was. Then we looked for a place to stay where we had electricity and water hookups because we didn't know how long I would be sick. We finally squeezed into a private campground, right next to the manager's house, and got set up just in time for a huge storm. HUGE STORM! Torrential rains, thunder, lightening, and winds kept up all night, and the morning brought a realization that if we would have been on the trail in the woods, we would have been in extreme danger from the lightening and falling tree and branches. I guess I got sick for a reason!
We plan on no storms for this trip. And only day hikes, not week long treks with heavy back packs. In fact my plan is to get a site in the lower campgound, down close to the water. And my morning will consist of coffee made in my French press and drank out of a huge mug while sitting on a rock in the first sunlight of the day, watching the "shining big sea water." And I will heal. The North Shore is a special place to me, and I can't wait to get there!